As the curtain rolls down on the mid-week Champions League action, it’s time to our focus back to our Fantasy Premier League squads again. Like every week, it’s time to take a look at my top 3 captain picks for the week and analyze their prospects.
1. Harry Kane (vs Swansea home)
August is over and he’s back doing what he does best – 4 goals in 2 games in September already. Kane was quite unlucky not to score in the first 3 games. But the bad luck’s deserted him, and they’re all flying into the back of the net now. His first goal against Everton just about summed that up, with even a cross ending up as a goal. It’s a trend with the Spurs talisman. He starts off slowly every season, but when he gets going, he gets going. In 2015/16 it took him 7 games to start scoring at the start of the season, but he followed that up with 8 goals in the next 7 games. In 16/17, he endured a similar 3 game drought at the start like this season, but followed that up with 7 goals in his next 6.
He has remarkable underlying stats, to say the least. Kane has taken 28 shots so far, 8 more than Lukaku, the next best. 21 of them have come inside the box, compared to Lukaku’s 15. With almost 2 key passes per game, he’s doing well in the setting up department as well. The only doubts around him were about his Wembley form. Now, he’s put those to rest too. Kane has warmed up for this clash with 2 goals and an assist against Borussia Dortmund – one of Europe’s most in-form sides.
His opponents are perhaps the most ideal as well. Swansea may have only conceded 5 in 4, but they’ve been lucky to only concede this few. They’ve conceded 19.5 shots per game – no club has conceded more so far. For their away games, that number rises to 22.5 per game. It comes as no surprise that in their only game against a top side, Man Utd, they went for 4 as they were disposed off with clinical ease. Spurs have taken 19.8 shots per game, again the highest in that regard. This could be a whitewash, and there are little reasons as to why you shouldn’t captain Kane, let alone go without him in your team in this game. If you don’t have him, you might have to get him in at any cost.
2. Romelu Lukaku (vs Everton home)
If you don’t own Kane, and can’t get him in, perhaps the second best choice is boring old Lukaku. He scored last week against Stoke, he scored in the midweek against Basel in the Champions League. The burly Belgian has 6 in 6 for his new club in all competitions so far. It seems there are three certainties in life right now – death, taxes and a Lukaku goal. Still in 57% of all teams, he’s the most owned player by far. There’s a good chance he’ll be the most captained player again too – for the 5th week in a row.
Lukaku does indeed have the second most shots for any player so far, with 21, only less than Kane. His shots in the box too, 15, are second in the league too. His opponents, Everton, have also been poor at the back this season. Their problems were best exposed by Spurs thrashing them 3-0 at the Goodison, but it was coming before that. In their last 3 games, the Toffees have conceded 17.3 shots per game. This number is 18.5 for their away games so far. It also bodes well the ex-Everton man is the prime target for Man Utd’s crossing. Everton have had their problems especially with crosses, with 3 of the last 4 league goals they have conceded being through crosses.
If you don’t own Kane, it’s hard to go wrong with the most owned player in the game too.
3. Roberto Firmino (vs Burnley home)
If you’re the type who just can’t go with the herd – perhaps Firmino’s the choice for you. Liverpool will be smarting after a thumping defeat at Man City, and it can’t get much better than Burnley at home. Much like Kane and Lukaku, the Brazilian too, has prepared for this clash with a Champions League goal against Sevilla. Even though the suspension of Sadio Mane might worry you regarding Liverpool’s output, Liverpool actually scored 2.1 goals per game last season when the Senegalese winger was out injured at the end of the season, compared to 1.8 per game before.
It’s his fixture that makes him stand out as an alternative captaincy option. Burnley’s away troubles are well documented. They only managed a paltry 7 points away all last season, compared to 33 at home. Their defensive woes have only gotten worse. The Clarets have conceded 19.5 shots per game this season, tied highest with the aforementioned Swansea. This number rises to 23.5 for away games. Just as well, Liverpool have taken 20.5 shots per game at home. What makes matters worse for Burnley, is their talismanic captain and goalkeeper Tom Heaton is out with a dislocated shoulder. This throws inexperienced Nick Pope into the deep end, whose only 53 minutes of Premier League action came last week against Crystal Palace. This could be another whitewash, and expect Firmino to be at the forefront of it.
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